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Review: Subaru Now Builds an Outback Trim That Will Impress Your Valet

The new 2017 Subaru Outback goes upscale. It gets a new Touring trim that will impress your valet.


The Subaru Outback isn’t just for hauling kids and groceries. There’s a new Touring model that goes upscale. The new Touring trim is the top-of-the-line for Outback and it gets a lot more comfortable. While you can still take this new Outback off-road, this Touring model will come with more luxury on the inside. It also gets a new safety feature that will automatically stop the wagon when backing up. And it gets the EyeSight safety system which is one of the best out there for keeping families safe on the road.

What’s new for 2016?

For 2017, Outback gets the new Touring trim that features Java Brown leather upholstery with contrasting ivory stitching and a Brilliant Brown Pearl exterior paint. Subaru also has added rear object detection with automatic emergency braking to 2017 Outback models.

Features and options

The 2017 Outback 2.5i Touring ($35,995) adds special trim, machined-finish 18-inch wheels and Java Brown leather upholstery with contrasting ivory stitching. It also comes with heated power front seats, heated rear seats, woodgrain trim, Harman Kardon 12-speaker 576-watt audio, and a power lift gate with memory.

Safety features

All Outbacks include a rearview camera, as well as front seat-cushion airbags. Touring comes standard with the EyeSight driver assist safety system adding adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning. EyeSight is also equipped with active lane control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Rear object detection with reverse automatic braking is new for 2017. Total MSRP as tested including destination: $36,870.

insideInterior highlights

Stepping inside the new Touring model will impress your valet and you won’t mind taking it to that expensive restaurant. Inside it gets an attractive new Java Brown leather upholstery with contrasting ivory stitching to set it apart. Outside, this tester came with a Brilliant Brown Pearl paint that looks black in the dark. It actually changes color depending on the lighting. It also features wood trim, a heated leather steering wheel and heated front and rear seats for extra comfort. There’s lots of soft-touch material used throughout the cabin and the quality of materials has been improved.


The leather seats are comfortable, supportive and they won’t leave you feeling tired after a long trip to the high country for a weekend excursion. We cranked up the Harman Kardon premium sound and shut out the noisy city traffic this week. More on Page 2.

The Outback is considered a mid-size crossover, but the interior room is substantial. Seating space up front is abundant and in the back adults will ride comfortably. Where the Outback shines is in its cargo carrying ability and versatility. The rear seats fold 60/40 and fold flat for 73.3 cubic feet of space. With the seats up, there is 35.5 cu.ft of cargo carrying ability.

For urban-adventurers, there’s plenty of room to put in a mountain bike without removing the handles. The auto lift gate comes in handy when you’ve got your hands full. It also features a height memory function. Lift-over height is relatively low, offering easier cargo loading and makes it easier for the four-legged family members to jump in the back.

Engine and fuel mileage performance

This 2017 Outback Touring came powered by the 2.5-liter boxer engine developing 175 horsepower and 174 lb. ft of torque. It comes mated to a Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). EPA’s fuel-mileage numbers are 25/32 city/highway mpg and 28 combined mpg. Active grille shutters help boost fuel-efficiency.

Driving dynamics

Driving at high-altitude is always a good test of a vehicle’s performance in the rarified air in Colorado. We pushed the Outback 2.5i up I-70 this week and found it to have plenty of power for most owners. Unless you are towing a small camper or trailer the 2.5-liter engine does a good job in most situations. The four-cylinder Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds. If you need more, the 3.6R will tow 3,000 pounds.


On the flat, the Outback will scoot around the city with ease and it won’t feel too big for urban-dwellers. Many Outback owners will also take it for weekend excursions and this is where the wagon shines. Its off-road prowess and all-wheel-drive traction puts it head and shoulders above most other crossovers. Throw a mountain bike in the back, strap it on top, or get a rear carrier and you are ready to get away from civilization. It’s why the Outback is the best selling vehicle in both Colorado, Washington and Maine.

The Outback uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and Subaru’s variant gets impressive performance. We consider it among the top CVTs, possibly the best. Six simulated steps provide ratios like the gears within a conventional transmission. Paddle shifters on the Touring helped improve performance this week as we drove the wagon in the mountains. More on Page 3.

The cabin is relatively quiet at high speeds even when we pushed the 2.5-liter hard up the mountain. On the road, visibility is good, and the standard backup camera makes navigating tight spots much easier. Subaru is known for its safety features and this model came loaded with extras. You can read about the full compliment here.


The 2017 Subaru Outback Touring trim offers up more comfort inside than the standard model. The leather seats, wood trim, quiet ride and other creature comforts make it a comfortable place to spend time. We think Outback is a good value for the price with its all-weather capabilities, off-road prowess and it’s superior safety features. In terms of quality and comfort, the wagon is competitive with models that cost far more. The Touring model takes this wagon to near-luxury contender.

Updated on May 11, 2018.